Wimbledon: Robson backed to reach fourth round

SAM Smith, the last British woman to reach the fourth round at Wimbledon, sees no reason why Laura Robson cannot match her exploits at the All England Club this year.

Robson boosted the morale of the home crowd at SW19 when she defeated tenth seed Maria Kirilenko to be the only British woman to make the second round. The victory meant Robson became the first British woman to beat a top-ten player at the All England Club since Smith overcame Conchita Martinez 15 years ago.

Smith then progressed to the fourth round – a feat that has not been matched by a home-grown player since. Given that she has already dispatched Kirilenko, Robson is a big favourite to beat Mariana Duque-Marino today on Court Two and then Peng Shuai in the third round.

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“She has got the potential to go way further than the fourth round, whether it be this year or in the future,” said Smith. “The worst thing she can do is look at the draw and think it has opened up. There are still some pretty good names in there.”

Robson has gone through a roller-coaster 12 months since she claimed silver at the Olympics with Andy Murray. The Australian-born star has defeated big names like Li Na, Kim Clijsters and Petra Kvitova this season, but she has struggled against some of the lesser-known players on tour. Little is known about Duque-Marino, a qualifier from Bogota, but she did overcome 24-year-old German Julia Goerges in the previous round.

Smith hopes Robson does not take her opponent lightly. “It will be different for her compared to her first match,” Smith said. “Duque-Marino beat a very good player in the first round, so she is obviously playing pretty well.”

Duque-Marino, 23, turned professional eight years ago and is 117th in the world. She has never made it beyond the second round of a major, but she is hopeful of causing an upset.

“She comes into the match after a good win, but I always think positive,” Duque-Marino said.

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